- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tiger terrorism

The ambassador from Sri Lanka is calling on the United States and other foreign governments to impose sanctions and isolate front groups that support rebels suspected of assassinating the country’s foreign minister.

The United States labeled the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist organization in 1997.

Ambassador Bernard A.B. Goonetilleke said action is now needed against the “numerous front groups” that aid the rebels.

“The evidence is incontrovertible that the assassination of the foreign minister was committed by the LTTE,” the ambassador said after receiving Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who visited the Sri Lankan Embassy to sign a condolence book.

“The need of the hour is now to follow up on the recognition of the nature of the terrorist act by taking practical and effective measures as required by international law for the prevention and suppression of terrorism,” he added.

Mr. Goonetilleke urged the United States and other governments to impose sanctions and internationally isolate groups and people who support the Tigers.

Miss Rice on Tuesday visited the embassy to honor Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, shot by a sniper on Friday outside his home in Colombo, the capital of the South Asian nation.

“I am shocked and saddened by the assassination,” she said. “The senseless murder was a vicious act of terror, which the United States strongly condemns. Those responsible must be brought to justice.”

Miss Rice called Mr. Kadirgamar “a man of dignity, honor and integrity, who devoted his life to bringing peace to Sri Lanka.”

“Together we must honor his memory by rededicating ourselves to peace and ensuring that the cease-fire remains in force,” she said.

Tigers signed a cease-fire agreement in 2002, but the government has accused the rebels of frequent violations of the accords. The ambassador noted that Scandinavian officials who monitor the agreement cited the Tigers with nearly 3,000 cease-fire violations.

Mr. Goonetilleke said his government suspects the Tigers agreed to the cease-fire because of a backlash against international terrorism after the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001.

“It is now clear that the LTTE [signed the agreement] in order to buy time in the international climate that they faced in the aftermath of 9/11,” the ambassador said.

The condolence book is open today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the embassy at 2148 Wyoming Ave. NW.

Hamas buildup

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon is warning that the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is engaged in a “massive buildup” of equipment and recruits and is waiting for an opportunity to attack his country.

“They have taken a tactical decision to keep terror on a low flame but not stop it entirely,” he told the Associated Press this week, as Israel began dismantling settlements in the Gaza Strip.

“But we observe a very massive buildup with recruitment and training of new terrorists, of mobilizing more financial support and explosive munitions and having the cells ready and the chain of command ready.”

Mr. Ayalon called Hamas “a ticking bomb that can explode whenever they find it suitable to their purposes.”

Nathan re-elected

Singapore’s former ambassador to the United States yesterday won a second six-year term as president of the Southeast Asian city-state in an uncontested election that left him in an awkward position.

“I have said before that I would have preferred a contest,” said S.R. Nathan, who served in Washington from 1990 to 1996.

Mr. Nathan became the only candidate for the office after three contenders were disqualified under Singapore’s unique election law. To qualify for the presidential campaign, candidates must have directed a government agency or a private firm with at least $60 million in capital.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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